Archive for December, 2008

What Sells in January

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Gift-giving seasons are the best for book sales and since Fall includes major gift-giving holidays, it’s the time for publishers to release their heavy-hitters. With all those big titles, however, it can be a tough time to get noticed.

Today’s Wall Street Journal explores something publishers have known for quite a while; January, when people are coming in to stores to redeem gift cards (or to exchange gifts they didn’t like) can also be a good time for book sales. And, with less competition from big-name authors, it’s an opportunity to make a splash with a new author.

The WSJ sees Beat the Reaper as a contender for THE debut novel of January (more about it here, including bibliographic info, from our earlier story). 

Below are the other titles mentioned in the article. Large libraries have all of them on order, in modest quantities.

Things I’ve been Silent About: Memories

Azar Nafisi

Her follow-up to reading-club favorite, Reading Lolita in Tehran

  • Hardcover: $27; 368 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (December 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 1400063612
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400063611


Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America

Ann Coulter

This has the largest print run of all the titles under discussion, 800,000 — a bit amazing since the WSJ also quotes sales figures from BookScan for her last title at just 141,000

  • Hardcover: $27.95; 320 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Forum (January 6, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 030735346X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307353467


The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History

Harry S. Dent

Quite a bracing title for the new year! This one takes advantage of another January tradition; New Year’s resolutions. “Getting finances in order” is likely at the top of most people’s lists.

  • Hardcover: $27; 400 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (January 6, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1416588981
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416588986

Spring Titles: Public Affairs

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

One of the goals of EarlyWord is to bridge the gap between publishers and librarians. We’re excited to bring you a new feature of EarlyWord — podcasts sponsored by publishers and created for EarlyWord readers, about their new books. This is an opportunity to hear directly from publishers and to get a jump on major titles of the Spring.

First up is Susan Weinberg, publisher of Public Affairs, a house that made a major splash last year with What Happened by Scott McClelland. Public Affairs specializes in nonfiction, particularly politics and books by journalists. You can download or listen to the podcast by using the menu at the top of this post.

Susan’s focus is titles to be published in April and May and a special title coming in January that has not been reviewed yet.

Below is the bibliographic information for the titles in the podcast. You can also link to this Excel spreadsheet with ISBN’s.

A Long time Coming

Evan Thomas & the staff of Newsweek

Public Affairs Fall Catalog : pgs 34 & 35

  • Hardcover: $22.95; 256 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; (January 12, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1586486071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586486075
  • Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes
    Tamim Ansary

    Public Affairs Spring Catalog: p24 & 25

    • Hardcover: $26.95
    • Publisher: PublicAffairs (May, 2009)
    • ISBN-13: 978-1586486068
    • Audio CD: Unabridged MP3 CD; $29.95
    • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, Inc.;  (May 1, 2009)
    • ISBN-13: 978-1433272271
    A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures
    Quinn Bradley

    Public Affairs Spring Catalog: pgs. 2 & 3

    • Hardcover: $24.95
    • Publisher: PublicAffairs (April, 2009)
    • ISBN-13: 978-1586481896
    Invisible Sisters: A Memoir
    Jessica Handler

    Public Affairs Spring Catalog: pgs. 12 & 13

    • Hardcover: $24.95; 272 pages
    • Publisher: PublicAffairs (April 13, 2009)
    • ISBN-10: 1586486489
    • ISBN-13: 978-1586486488
    The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East
    Neil MacFarquhar

    Public Affairs Catalog: p30 & 31

    • Hardcover: $26.95; 400 pages
    • Publisher: PublicAffairs (April 27, 2009)
    • ISBN-10: 1586486357
    • ISBN-13: 978-1586486358
    Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It
    Karl Weber

    Public Affairs Spring Catalog: pgs. 4&5

    • Paperback: $14.95; 304 pages
    • Publisher: PublicAffairs (May 4, 2009)
    • ISBN-10: 1586486942
    • ISBN-13: 978-1586486945

    Public Affairs Spring Catalog: pgs 20 & 21

    • Hardcover: $24.95
    • Publisher: PublicAffairs (April, 2009)
    • ISBN-13: 978-1586487560

    Everyone’s a ‘Knucklehead’

    Monday, December 22nd, 2008

    Our EarlyWord Kids contributor, Lisa Von Drasek, has been writing here about her enthusiasm for Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka. This Sunday, she shared that enthusiasm with the broader world, in the NYT Book Review

    She wants to mention to the EarlyWord audience that, since the book is Jon’s (hilarious) reminiscences about growing up, “it’s a great jumping-off point for a memoir-writing workshop with teens and late elementary kids. It would also be great for an intergenerational oral history program.”

    For an example of how well the book gets people talking, check out the responses on the NY Times Paper Cuts blog, “Are You a Knucklehead?”. They challenged people  to post their own “entirely true stories of the most knuckleheaded thing — defined here as risky, dangerous, absurdly pointless or all three — they ever did when they were growing up.” A great idea to steal for your library blog.

    Come to think about it, let’s do it here, but let’s change it. What’s the most knuckleheaded thing you did as a librarian?

    I’ll start. Happily, I never did anything dangerous on the job, but maybe this qualifies as a bit absurd:

    When I was working in Baltimore County P.L., we had the mandate to offer help, rather than wait for people to come to the desk to ask. We discovered that if we wandered the stacks well before closing time and approached people who looked like they needed help, it had the extra benefit of speeding along closing time.

    I saw a young couple in the 300’s. Being a bit shy, I was never good at beginning conversations, so I blurted, “You look frustrated, can I help?’

    You guess it, they were looking for books on sex.

    True story; but as I tell it, I doubt it would happen today.

    Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka

    Jon Scieszka 

    • Paperback: $12; 106 pages
    • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (October 2, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 067001138X
    • ISBN-13: 978-0670011384

    Steal This for Your Next Speech

    Sunday, December 21st, 2008

    A good laugh to begin a VERY hectic week (thanks to Collection Developments @ Sno-Isle for spotting this!)

    Please excuse the intro from Ad Age. Why do people think they have to explain a joke?

    Preview ‘The Associate’

    Friday, December 19th, 2008

    IF you’re dying for a sneek peak at The Associate by John Grisham (pubbing Jan 27), the first four chapters are up on Entertainment Weekly‘s site.

    The Associate

    John Grisham

    • Hardcover: $27.95; 384 pages
    • Publisher: Doubleday (January 27, 2009)
    • ISBN-10: 0385517831
    • ISBN-13: 978-0385517836

    The NYT Discovers Plummer

    Friday, December 19th, 2008

    Christopher Plummer may be getting late coverage by the Times, but he’s getting it in spades. His memoir came out in early November; this Sunday, the NYT Book Review features it on the cover. The daily Times reviews it in today’s issue.

    The Book Review says Plummer “writes and reports almost as well as he acts.” The daily Times calls the book “long, but rarely boring.” It’s also received strong reviews in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

    Most large libraries own it with comfortable holds to copy ratios.

    In Spite of Myself: A Memoir 

    Christopher Plummer 

    • Hardcover: $29.95; 656 pages
    • Publisher: Knopf (November 4, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0679421629
    • ISBN-13: 978-0679421627

    While You’re Thinking about Sex

    Friday, December 19th, 2008
    Lisa Von Drasek: Early Word Kids

    When you put in the order for the new Joy of Sex don’t forget to check the holdings on Robie Harris’s sex ed trifecta.

    And, while you’re at it, think about adding these titles to your adult collection, They’re great resources for parents who need to discuss the subject with their children, from preschooler to teenagers.

    It’s not the stork!:

    A Book about Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends

    Robie H. Harris; illustrated by Michael Emberley

    • Reading level: Ages 4 and up
    • Hardcover: $16.99; 64 pages
    • Publisher: Candlewick (July 25, 2006)
    • ISBN-10: 0763600474
    • ISBN-13: 978-0763600471
    • Paperback: $11.99; 64 pages
    • Publisher: Candlewick (August 26, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0763633313
    • ISBN-13: 978-0763633318
    No Es La Ciguena!:
    Un Libro Que Habla Sobre Ninas, Ninos, Bebes, Cuerpos, Familias Y Amigos
    • Paperback: $19.99; 59 pages
    • Publisher: Lectorum Publications (November 30, 2006)
    • Language: Spanish
    • ISBN-10: 8478716416
    • ISBN-13: 978-8478716418

    It’s So Amazing!:

    A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families

    Harris, Robie

    • Reading level: Ages 7 and up
    • Paperback: $12.99; 88 pages
    • Publisher: Candlewick (July 22, 2004)
    • ISBN-10: 0763613215
    • ISBN-13: 978-0763613211
    • Hardcover: $22.99; 80 pages
    • Publisher: Candlewick; (March 3, 1999)
    • ISBN-10: 0763600512
    • ISBN-13: 978-0763600518

    It’s Perfectly Normal:

    A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

    Harris, Robie

    • Reading level: Ages 10 and up
    • Hardcover: $22.99; 96 pages
    • Publisher: Candlewick; 10 Anv edition (December 16, 2004)
    • ISBN-10: 0763626104
    • ISBN-13: 978-0763626105
    • Paperback: $12.99; 96 pages
    • Publisher: Candlewick; 10 Upd Anv edition (July 22, 2004)
    • ISBN-10: 0763624330
    • ISBN-13: 978-0763624330

    New ‘Joy of Sex’

    Friday, December 19th, 2008

    The new edition of The Joy of Sex is reviewed in the New York Times today (curiously, in the “Fashion and Style” section). According to the article,  this edition is “written, for the first time, for women as much as for men.”  But with so much sex information widely available, do people actually need The Joy of Sex today? Yes, says British relationship pyschologist, Susan Quilliam, who revised the book, “Because we are more sexualized, we need something that is credible, accurate and authoritative.”

    As for the illustrations, gone are the “Hairy Man” drawings of the 70’s, replaced by “photographs (and drawings, when things get too graphic) of a suitably buff 21st-century couple.”

    The book, pubbed in the UK in September, will be released here in January. The U.S. edition is not showing on Amazon, but it is listed in the Crown Spring ’09 catalog (p37). The cover in the article is from the British edition. 

    It seems the American edition will be more understated:

    The Joy of Sex: The Ultimate Revised Edition, The Timeless Guide to Lovemaking

    by Alex Comfort and Susan Quilliam

    • Hardcover: $29.95; 288 pages
    • Publisher: Crown (January 6, 2009)
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307452030

    New Bestsellers

    Thursday, December 18th, 2008

    As USA Today notes in their “Book Buzz” column, the paperback of Team of Rivals continues to rise on their bestseller list (from #51 to #40 this week). The hardcover was reprinted for the holidays and the paperback now features a blurb from the Reader-in-Chief, Barak Obama.

    Despite what some may say, the reference book is not dead yet. These titles are all on the list:

    • #22 Guinness: World Records 2009
    • #41 The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2009
    • #122 Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!: Prepare to Be Shocked!
    • #127 The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary: Fourth Edition
    • #150 The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2009

    There’s very few new titles to the lists this week. At this time of the year, people are buying old favorites for gift-giving (FIVE Dr. Seuss titles are on the USA Today list this week).

    USA Today & NYT Debuts


    #42 No Limits: The Will to SucceedMichael Phelps, Alan Abrahamson, Free Press (debuts at #12 on the 12/28 NYT NonFiction list)

    #105 Wishful DrinkingCarrie Fisher, Simon & Schuster (also debuts at #13 on the 12/28 NYT NonFiction list)

    #119 Hello, Cupcake!Alan Richardson, Karen Tack, Houghton Mifflin Co. (has been on the NYT Paperback Advice, How-to and Misc. list for 15 weeks)

    #130 Top Chef: The CookbookCreators of Top Chef,  Chronicle (debuts at #9 on the 12/28 NYT Advice, How-to, Misc. list)

    The following also debut on the 12/18 NYT bestseller lists:



    Childrens Paperback (Original)

    #10 NO ORDINARY MOUSE, (Candlewick, $3.99.)

    ‘Edgar Sawtelle’ Prequel

    Thursday, December 18th, 2008

    Ecco Press, a division of HarperCollins, has signed David Wroblewski’s second book, which will “trace the origins of Edgar Sawtelle’s father and uncle,” and will be part of a planned trilogy, according to the New York Times.

    Heavy Reserve Alert; ‘Don’t Go There’

    Thursday, December 18th, 2008

    No doubt that vacation budgets are slim right now, so an “essential guide to the must-miss places of the world” has a definite sour-grapes appeal.

    Peter Greenberg’s Don’t Go There is now #52 on Amazon and shows heavy reserves at many libraries. Greenberg is the Today Show‘s Travel Editor.

    In one of the few reviews to appear so far, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said, “Despite the laugh-out-loud title for a travel guide, Don’t Go There! provides some serious advice that can save you time, money and lots of grief.”

    Don’t Go There!:

    The Travel Detective’s Essential Guide to the Must-Miss Places of the World

    by Peter Greenberg

    • Paperback: $17.95; 320 pages
    • Publisher: Rodale Books (November 11, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1605299944
    • ISBN-13: 978-1605299945

    Bah! Humbug!

    Thursday, December 18th, 2008

    At this time of the year, it’s refreshing to be reminded that Christmas has not always been such a big deal. In an interview in today’s Wall Street Journal, Les Standiford, author of The Man Who Invented Christmas, says that in the 1840’s, it was celebrated only in “rural areas by the more superstitious folk. Its status as a civil holiday was nil. Factories operated, shops were open.”

    The man who helped to change all this, reviving his own career in the process, was Charles Dickens.

    Standiford’s book is reviewed in the current issue of USA Today and has received strong reviews in the NYT Book Review and the Washington Post.

    Most large libraries own it in limited quantities.

    The Man Who Invented Christmas:

    How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits

    Les Standiford

    • Hardcover: $19.95; 256 pages
    • Publisher: Crown (November 4, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0307405788
    • ISBN-13: 978-0307405784

    ‘Dewey’ Celebrated in USA Today

    Thursday, December 18th, 2008

    Dewey‘s continuing success is toasted in USA Today (Dewey the cat, sittin’ purr-ty). The book is now at #14 on their bestseller list, its highest ranking so far. A certain dog is still in the lead, at #10 on the list, but USA Today thinks that doesn’t bother Dewey at all — “Dewey ignores creeping ascendancy of Marley & Me movie tie-in edition on best-seller list. That dog is so 2005.”

    USA Today doesn’t mention that they are a factor in Dewey‘s success; they’ve been rooting for the book almost as long as we have.

    Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

    Vicki Myron

    • Hardcover: $19.99
    • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (September 24, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0446407410
    • ISBN-13: 9780446407410
    • Audio CD: Unabridged, $22.98 [Correction: Jeffrey Gegner, Hennepin P.L. alerts us that this edition is actually Abridged]
    • Publisher: Hachette Audio, (September 24, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 1600243827
    • ISBN-13: 9781600243820
    • PlayAway: $59.99; ISBN, 9781607751564
    • Large Print Hardcover: $22.99
    • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, (September 24, 2008)
    • ISBN-10: 0446541192
    • ISBN-13: 9780446541190

    Heads-up for April 2009

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
    Lisa Von Drasek: Early Word Kids

    Get ready for another popular YA vampire novel; coming in April, The Reformed Vampire Support Group sets up the proposition that vampirism is an infectious disease. The afflicted are weak, unable to take nutrition from food and must resist the compulsion to feed off humans infecting them. Yes, some of what we know about vampires is true – they cannot go out in daylight and basically live forever.

    The book is written from the point of view of Nina who is forever fifteen (since 1973) and suffers all the adolescent angst that goes with that. She makes her living writing about a strong, avenging fictional vampire while still living with her aging mother. Author Catherine Jinks conjures up an eccentric but believable cast of characters in a page-turning adventure/mystery.

    This is a break-out book; I would be surprised if someone hasn’t snapped up the movie rights already.

    [No Cover Yet]
    The Reformed Vampire Support Group
    Catherine Jinks

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: $17; 320 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; (April 20, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0152066098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152066093
  • Best AudioBooks

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

    AudioFile magazine has just released their picks of the Best Audiobooks of the year, as well as the Best Voices.